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Wang becomes the youngest winner on China LPGA Tour

(China Daily) Updated: 2014-08-31 17:49

Wang becomes the youngest winner on China LPGA Tour 

Wang Ziyi poses with her trophy. [Provided for China Daily]


Chinese amateur Wang Ziyi saved the best for last on Saturday when she holed out from 40 yards off the green for an improbable birdie three and a two-stroke victory at the Xiamen Challenge, becoming the youngest-ever winner on the China LPGA Tour.

Holding a one-stroke lead going into the final hole at Orient Xiamen Golf and Country Club, the 16-year-old national team player found the woods on her tee shot. She then bashed her approach out of the trees landing short of the green. With playing partner Hsieh Yu-ling (70) on the green in two and sensing a playoff, the teenager calmly took out a wedge and holed her third shot for the victory.

In her first China LPGA Tour win against a professional field, the Beijing native closed with a 68 for a score of 8-under 208. At 16 years, five months and two days, Wang surpassed Lin Xiyu as the Tour's youngest winner. The US LPGA Tour regular won the Tianjin Challenge two years ago at age 16 years, six months and 21 days.

"This victory shows my great improvement this summer. It should be a confidence booster in future," said Wang, the third amateur to win on the Tour. "This is my last day of summer vacation, so I should say no regrets this summer. It's the highlight of my life."

Playing in the last group in a dogfight down the stretch, Wang kept her cool in the hot conditions on the Fujian coast. After making the turn at 34 and bogeying the 10th hole, she rebounded to post three birdies on the back, including her win-saving shot at the last.

"It was an amazing shot on the last hole, but I thought I could win a playoff if there was one," the confident teen said.

Overnight leader Yan Panpan (71) of China and Chinese-Taipei's Hsieh Yu-ling finished equal runner-up, sharing the winner's purse in the RMB500,000 tournament.

Starting the day with a one-shot lead, Pan registered a bogey six on the second hole and had to fight to escape the front nine at even-par 36. After getting a share of the lead with Wang's bogey at the 10th, the 28-year-old veteran registered a birdie three at the 13th, offset by a bogey five at the next. A birdie three at the 15th put her back to within one stroke of the lead, but the Qingdao native could only muster even par the last three holes.

"I played great, but Wang Ziyi played better than me. The golf god seemed to be on her side, hats off to her," said the Qingdao native. "I thought there might be a playoff but she won directly with that amazing shot."

Taipei native Hsieh put herself in contention late in her round with consecutive birdies starting at the 14th hole. Sitting one stroke off the lead, like Pan she could only play par golf back to the clubhouse.

"I'm not disappointed. I missed a three-foot birdie putt on the 17th to tie for the lead," said the 22-year-old. "But today I had a chip-in birdie and a long birdie putt in a row (at the 14th and 15th holes). I didn't hit very close and create enough birdie chances. When Wang holed out at the last hole I just exhaled. It's her day, congratulations to her."

The China LPGA Tour now takes a short break and will return September 18-20 for the CTBC Ladies Open, a co-sponsored event with the LPGA of Taiwan.


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